The belief that people are free human beings is central to much explanation of human behavior as well as to a broad set of social practices such as law, ethics, and politics. Neuroscience has been heralded as a game-changer that will radically alter how people perceive human freedom and potentially lead to the denial of its very existence. This chapter first examines some of the claims made by neuroscience research that challenge beliefs in free moral agency. It posits that a commonly held but unfounded objectivist and essential stance toward free moral agency and an equally common dichotomist fact–value/is–ought tension are at the center of these problematic interpretations. A resolution can be found in pragmatist theory and recent research in social psychology, both of which suggest that knowledge can also empower moral agency.
Racine E, Dubljević V. Behavioral and brain-based research on free moral agency: Threat or empowerment? Judy Illes and Sharmin Hossain, edit., Neuroethics: Anticipating the Future, Oxford University Press. 31 (5), p. 325-419